Project title: DRC Pilot study on a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) detection of measles and rubella infection and immunity
This purpose of this project is to pilot a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) detection of measles and rubella infection and immunity using a digital microfluidics (DMF)-powered immunoassay. Currently, there is no RDT available for measles and rubella (MR). Timely disease identification and response is crucial in controlling outbreaks of MR. Thus, if an outbreak occurs it is important to immediately identify the etiological agent through laboratory confirmation. However, establishing diagnostic laboratory facilities is challenging in resource poor settings. Alternative diagnostic tools that can be deployed to clinical sites reducing the demand for intensive and centralized laboratory resources should be explored for low-resource settings. This project will pilot an innovative and low-cost technology able to confirm infection and immunity to measles and rubella in ~30 minutes from a finger-stick of blood.
The University of Toronto has expertise in conducting the DMF-immunoassay for measles and rubella and agreed to collaborate with AFENET to conduct the rapid tests for this evaluation. This project is a collaboration between DRC FETLP (the country is providing the study sites), the University of Toronto, the Kinshasa School of Public Health, DRC Ministry of Health, WHO, CDC DRC, and CDC Atlanta.
Project Objective: The overall goal of this study is to evaluate the application of a novel and cost-effective digital microfluidics (DMF)-powered immunoassay for detection of measles and rubella infection and immunity among displaced populations. The objective is to examine the utility of using the DMF-ELISA instrument for detection of measles and rubella infection and immunity in a field setting.
Achievements/ Success Stories to date
• AFENET successfully contracted the University of Toronto to test the DMF ELISA kits in DRC.
• Funds were transferred to both the University of Toronto and the DRC FELTP for field activities.
• One scientist from DRC was able to travel for preparatory meetings in Toronto to acquaint herself with the DMF technology.
• Subcontractors travelled to the DRC and trained in assay operation.
• New reagents were acquired and institutional ethics approval was granted to conduct tests for the DMF kit.